Leading daycare & preschool brand Champs believes Education is more than just academic. It is one’s whole being that includes the emotional, social, and moral self.
ProEves had an opportunity to speak to the Founder and director Pearl Raj on their road to success.
- Tell me about your journey at Champs Academy?
Being an educationist for over decades, in the field of early childhood education, I realized that the early years are the most important years in the life of a person as it creates patterns and lasting impressions for a lifetime. Whatever goes into the mind of the child through the experiences and environment provided between 0-5 years is engraved for eternity. Keeping this in mind Champs Academy was started in 2012 to provide the best of impressions that will shape, mould and create the best version that they are meant to become. We believe that each child is unique and a champion in their own way and we strive to discover the champion within them leading them from discovery to self-transformation.
- Tell us about the learning environment in Champs. What makes it special?
Education is more than just academic. It is one’s whole being that includes the emotional, social and moral self. Our first and foremost learning is giving respect. As early as playschool we teach our children the importance of magic words such as please, thank you, waiting for your turn and learning to respect the space and resources that are available for us. A champion is born and made strong when they learn to say please and thank you to the domestic helper who cleans their classroom, to the watchman who takes care of their school, to their parents who care for them.
Our children are taught to be responsible for their belongings, of their classroom and of their school. My heart is filled with immense joy when I see how each child sees the importance of throwing the garbage in the right place. This learning is taken home and to the world outside. In Fact, I have been told that they have corrected others who throw garbage in the wrong places. This is the learning I dream of and is fulfilled each day in the champions I see in my school.
Our daily routine starts with yoga or a nature walk on the sensory path so that all children learn to calm down, gain focus and discover themselves. It is usually followed by a story or a Thirukural or a song that kind of sets the message of the day.
Each lesson is taught primarily through activities which are then led to deep discussions where each child is encouraged to speak out what they think and feel about the concept. Communication is given prime importance and all that is discussed is then written on the board. No answers are given in Champs. Children write their own answers with the help of the points that are on the board.
Our Pearly Phonics Program is the highlight of our curriculum, where children are taught to read right from PRE KG with the help of sounds. We believe that equipping the children with reading skills will enable them to be independent and provide access to the world of information. Thus our preschool years are focused strongly on Phonics giving children the freedom to become confident readers.
We believe that all children are equal and unique and therefore we have the Inclusive program that welcomes children with special needs. It is an honour to see our children from the mainstream becoming buddies to our little champs.
Our purpose at Champs is to nurture children to become the best they are meant to be thus creating a world of collaboration, social responsibility and creative expression.
- Extracurricular activities. Do you think they play a crucial role in a child’s development?
I wouldn’t call it extracurricular activities, for by putting the word extra, it kind of gives an impression of an extra burden. Activities such as music, dance, sports, swimming, art etc are part and parcel of the curriculum. Education is holistic and not only academic. Therefore all the activities that enhance the physical, emotional, social, communication, moral skills are all mandatory in providing a holistic environment that is essential for holistic education. At Champs, we don’t have extracurricular activities but rather we have a holistic curriculum.
- How has the teaching and learning process changed over the years?
There has been a dynamic shift in the teaching and learning process over the years especially with the introduction of Howard Gardiner’s Multiple Theory of Intelligence. In the past successful education was evaluated through the performance of academic results, sad to say it still is a reality in our society to some extent, however, there is a change in the realization that an individual cannot be labelled based on I.Q alone. This realization brought in the ideology of different learning styles and different kinds of learners. Thus the curriculum is more integrated than before in order to address the needs of different learners.
- What makes Champs the obvious choice? Why should one choose Champs?
Our philosophy is based on Howard Gardiner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligence which believes that every child is unique and has immense potential. Our curriculum is designed to address every intelligence in order to make it learner-centred and thus capture the full range of abilities and talents that children possess.
Our curriculum is influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy where we believe that young children are curious about their world and we provide extensive opportunities to understand the world and to be a part of it. Our integrated curriculum believes that children have a hundred languages (ways) to express themselves and therefore art, music, drama and dance are part and parcel of our curriculum.
Phenomena-based learning uses the natural curiosity of children to learn in a holistic context. Holistic real-world phenomena become the starting point of learning and this helps them to learn 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, innovation, communication, teamwork inquiry-based learning, self-expression, problem-solving and creativity.
The idea of collaboration is essential for the smooth working of the learning graph and thus we recognize the tripartite role of parents, teachers and society in providing a developmentally appropriate milieu for social, emotional and cognitive growth.
The curriculum includes the development of the language and communication through our exclusive modules such as Pearly Phonics Program, Drama and Music.
Infrastructure– Designed to create the CHAMP within while exploring and creating.
International Curriculum– Well planned and thematically based in order to be holistic.
Qualified Team– Seasoned and well qualified to understand the child with multiple intelligences.
Small Class Ratio Each child is unique and in order to nurture their potential, we have a small class ratio for effective individual attention.
Activities– Yoga, Karate, Music & Movement, Art & Craft, Theatre.
Safety and Hygiene-Highest safety standards with child-friendly equipment and furniture that ensure a safe ambience.
Field Trip– To reinforce the learning that has taken place in the classroom, field trips are an added boost to make learning have a lasting impact.
- With the companies supporting women with childcare benefits, do you feel we will see more women taking up challenging roles in the future?
I find it uncomfortable when companies say that they are supporting women with child care benefits when they should actually say that they are helping parents with child care benefits. It is not the responsibility of the woman alone to take care of their children. We support families as they work hard for their kids by providing daycare and after school activities for working parents such as completing homework, sports, music etc. I always tell my parents that all they need to do is just give one hour after work with undivided attention to their kids. This kind of partnership with parents has really been successful as parents and their kids are relaxed and are able to spend quality time at home.
Toddler Club- 2 years – 2.5 years
Nursery 2.6 yrs -3.5 years
Junior Kindergarten 3.6 yrs -4.5 yrs
Senior Kindergarten 4.6 yrs – 5.5 yr
Primary School (Grade 1-3)
Inclusive Education (3.5- 10 years)
Home Learning- Champs Caterpillars (2.00 -2.5 yrs)
Home Learning -Champs Chrysalis (2.5-3.5 yrs)
- How has your school been transformed into a digital way of learning?
Also, how have you equipped the students during covid times?
The COVID-19 crisis has forced educational systems worldwide to find alternatives to face-to-face instruction. As a result, online teaching has been used extensively by teachers and students on an unprecedented scale. At Champs Global Kidz, we have made extensive efforts through in house training, learning new digital techniques to maximise learning through the virtual platform. I am proud to say that we have done extensively well this year and the learning curve is moving steadily in an upward direction. Kudos to my passionate staff who try new ways to make the learning fun, interactive and activity-based. Asynchronous learning has been very effective in our learning strategy and children are learning more than expected.
In order to be better prepared for the pandemic, constant awareness programs are being conducted to help children understand the importance of washing hands and being careful in public. Talks on nutrition, good rest and healthy living are part and parcel of our curriculum, which is displayed through projects, storytelling, recitation and theatre.
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